When I was considering seating for The Eureka Room, my first thought was white, 60’s, futuristic looking ones. I quickly realized:
1) They were not in my budget.
2) You couldn’t fit that many in the room anyways.
I ended up actually using some benches I’ve had on my porch for years (Since a previous incarnation of The Eureka Room). They consisted of two plastic sides I bought on Amazon and some 2x4s.
There’s no back to them and there’s no padding. It’s like sitting on a bleacher.
This, turned out to have many good features I’m not sure I intended, including:
1) People are physically together, not in their separate chairs. They are “connected” by the benches.
2) They have to negotiate the seating on the benches since there’s no clear markings where each person should go. This can add a bit of awkward tension in the room before the program (which typically gets transmuted into excitement or some other positive emotions.
3) Since they have no backs or arms, they don’t distract from the room.
The only thing I don’t like is that people in the back bench don’t get an obstructed view like people on the front bench. I hope someday I can get some lower and higher benches to fix this.
I hope to play around with some other seating options and orientations in the future.